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Girvan is situated about 21 miles south of Ayr with a long sandy beach, boating pond, many cafe's, restaurants, bar diners, hiking trails, sea fishing, and boat trips to the island of Ailsa Craig.

Girvan is thought to have evolved from a tiny fishing village, with a number of small boats specializing in catching herring where the River Girvan enters the sea.

Due to high taxes imposed on imported goods in the 1700s & 1800s, fishing boats at Girvan were used for smuggling, helping to transfer goods from larger ships onto the mainland without paying the taxes.

By the 1800s, Girvan harbour was used to export grain, coal and lime, and the town grew more when companies from Glasgow opened factories for the weaving of cotton-cloth. In 1963, William Grant & Sons built a distillery about two miles north of the town.

The rail line from Glasgow reached Girvan in 1860, leading to the town being promoted as a beach resort. The town has remained a peaceful beach resort with a number of holiday parks close by, a fine beach, amusements, kids play, boating lake, cafe's, restaurants and bar/diners.

The harbour holds a number of pleasure vessels, boat yard, small fishing fleet, and boat link to the Isle of Ailsa Craig, about 10 miles west. Ailsa Craig is a popular day trip for hikers.

Right is a view towards Girvan Cross at Stumpy Tower. The road to the right at the tower leads north to Ayr, the road to the left to the main shopping area, Ballantrae and Stranraer, and the road straight ahead to the harbour and beach.

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Girvan Cross / Stumpy Tower image
Girvan Harbour image
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The harbour at Girvan is now mainly used for pleasure vessels and repairs to fishing boats.

There are two local boats for sea fishing and trips to the island of Ailsa Craig.

Sea Fishing Girvan & Island Trips.

Right is a view showing the beach with views over the Firth of Clyde and Island of Ailsa Craig. Girvan’s long sandy beach is one of the best in Ayrshire.

See Tour of Ailsa Craig for information and photos of the island.

Information on the new Ailsa Craig Centre is now available at:

Girvan Beach image
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Girvan Boating Pond image

Left is a view of the play area and boating pond at the beach.

There is a vast grassland area here and a walk for about 1 mile south to another secluded beach at the south side of the town.

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The pier at Girvan is a good spot for a relaxing days fishing. Shops for ice cream and fish teas are never far away in Girvan.

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For secure online mail order of traditional Scottish foodstuff, music, glassware, whisky miniatures, art and more, visit the website of The Sweetie Shop 3 Dalrymple Street Girvan at

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Girvan Golf Club 6th tee imageLarge Image from the 6th tee

Girvan Golf Club is a popular links & parks course with the first eight holes being right next to the sea with fantastic views of the small island of Ailsa Craig. Golf Courses do not get closer to the sea than the first 8 at Girvan.

The last ten holes are more inland of a parks course nature. Situated about 1 mile north of Girvan town centre. Price guide £15 - £20 round.

Right is a view of the 703ft Byne Hill on the south side of Girvan. The 974ft Grey Hill is just to the south, on the same range. There is a fairly good trail between the two.

Byne Hill gives great views over Girvan, and there is an old monument on the south side in memory of a Major Craufuird who served in India.

Hiking Photo Tour

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Left is a view of the car park at Bennane Head two miles north of Ballantrae, 10 miles south of Girvan. This is the area where the tale of Sawney Bean the cannibal evolved. About 150 feet below the car park is a cave.

The coastal road A77, between Girvan and Ballantrae, gives some fantastic views.

Culzean Castle & Country Park is situated about 6 miles north of Girvan. This is one of the top castles in Scotland to visit, only Edinburgh and Stirling castles are rated higher.

Culzean gives an impression of how wealthy some families were a few centuries back, as along with the castle, the vast grounds and gardens are impressive.

The coastal road A719, between Girvan and Ayr, passing Turnberry, Maidens and Dunure, is one of the most scenic in Scotland.

Culzean Castle image
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